Volunteers gather hundreds of pounds of trash from the Santa Fe River

on the Santa Fe
on the Santa Fe(wcjb)
Published: Sep. 12, 2020 at 5:16 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - It was a full-blown river clean up on the Santa Fe River on Saturday with volunteers taking hundreds of pounds of trash off the riverbanks.

Multiple organizations including the non-profit Current Problems and Anderson’s Outdoor Adventures joined together to offer free kayaks to volunteers with the idea of letting them loose on the river to bring back as much trash as possible.

“Since we were having so much fun over the summer we wanted to do a river clean up,” said Paul Spillers a co-owner of Anderson’s Outdoor Adventures. “We wanted to get some of the trash off the banks, that’s what we started with.”

“Masks seem to be a hot item, diapers are always a hot item,” said trash hunting volunteer Travis Smith. “Here on the river we find a lot of shoes, lefts, and rights but today we found a pair so that was kind of cool.”

However, the river being so high means there’s a whole world of trash they still weren’t able to reach but have goals to attack in the near future.

“We found a good bit of trash not as much as we would like too,” said Smith. “The tannins in the water were really high so it was hard for our divers to see and that was the main thing we wanted to hit was the bottom. Still, we got a good bit off the banks so I think we did alright.”

“With some of the storms we’ve gotten and the flow of the river a lot of your trash is actually going to be further down,” said Spillers. “So we’re looking at mid-October to do other clean up efforts and our goal is to go to the mouth of the Suwannee.”

The plan is to bring in underwater magnets, nets, and dive teams to bring up large items such as refrigerators, tires, car parts, and the hundreds of pounds of bottles and aluminum cans divers say they know lie under the surface. More than 50 volunteers came to help in the cleanup and organizers hope during the next clean up they can get more than 100.

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